Skip to main content

Magistrates Courts: Lyndhurst

Volume 486: debated on Monday 19 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has for the future of Lyndhurst magistrates court. (249286)

As part of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), HMCS Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (HMCS HIOW) have to make efficiency savings over the next three years. No decisions have yet been made but there is a proposal to close Lyndhurst magistrates court temporarily and move its work to Southampton magistrates court, a modern purpose-built courthouse with courtroom capacity for the workload of Lyndhurst. Stakeholders will be consulted before any final decisions are made.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what account he will take in determining the future of Lyndhurst magistrates court of (a) the assurances given to residents of Totton, the Waterside and the New Forest that the previous closure of the court facilities in Totton was being compensated for by new facilities in Lyndhurst and (b) expenditure on new court facilities in Lyndhurst when the court in Totton was closed; and what effect on the (i) workload of and (ii) waiting times for courts in Southampton would result from the closure of Lyndhurst Magistrates' Court. (249287)

A decision was taken in 1993 by the then Magistrates Courts Committee to close the five existing magistrates court facilities in the New Forest and replace these with a new facility at Lyndhurst. Any decision to close the magistrates court at Lyndhurst temporarily will take into account the needs of those who live and work in the New Forest area and their ability to access justice.

The cost of converting the police station building in Lyndhurst to a courthouse was £800,000. Southampton magistrates court currently has three courtrooms which are not used daily.

The workload of Lyndhurst can be easily accommodated in Southampton without any adverse impact and this would have no impact on waiting times.